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It's the untold "chastisement": While everyone waits for the stock market to crash, or a huge natural cataclysm, there's a cataclysm -- a "plague" -- underway already and it is called cancer.

Think of it this way: forty percent -- nearly one in every two -- eventually will be diagnosed with it (if you include minor skin cancers), and one in four will die due to the disease.

In the U.S., that's 557,000 cancer deaths per year, and you can add another 83,000 for Canada.

Can you imagine if an earthquake occurred each year that killed or injured that many -- or destroyed the same number that cancer will claim through our lifetimes?

It is roughly the same incidence as the bubonic plague that hit Europe during the great purification of the Middle Ages. 

This is not a contagious plague, cancer, not in most cases. As such, then, it is not really a "plague." But it is an epidemic just the same, and like losing the population of Baltimore, Maryland, every twelve months: Of those Americans now alive, about 75 million will succumb to a form of it, as it rains on the good and evil alike. "The Lord will smite you with the boils of Egypt and with tumors and with the scab and with the itch, from which you cannot be healed," said Deuteronomy 28:27 -- leaving us no doubt that in some cases, in some ages, cancer has been a chastisement.

That's the bad news. We'll get to the good in a minute. There are many factors. There is diet. There is smoking. There are genes. There is obesity. There is the environment. There are the chemicals in our air, food, and water. There are the processed foods (so cheap to make). And there are also spiritual factors. Can sin cause it? Sin can cause it. It can come down through the family tree.

Think of your spirit as an organizing field, or the body as a shadow of the spirit. It is the spirit -- not just some physiological carbohydrate factory -- that vivifies us (the saints told us this), and illness often occurs when there's an imbalance in the spirit. Blots of the soul -- dark spots -- can cause dark spots physically. This is the "spirit of cancer."

"The subconscious mind acts out on the body the unexpressed areas of conflict, either consciously, verbally, or physically, by selecting a target or end organ which can deal with them most appropriately," wrote a Christian psychiatrist named Dr. Kenneth McAll in Healing the Family Tree. "Every thought has a physical outlet."

We are what we eat but we are what we do, say, and think. Our bodies reflect spiritual development. In some cases, cancer may come as a suffering that advances us. It may be redemptive. In other cases it can come as the result of inner turmoil (holding in anger, unforgiveness, and other malicious feelings, which is another reason to purge those). In other cases, if it is generational, we should specifically and by name cast the spirit away from us.

What we pray for affects our spirits and our spirits manifest in our bodies; the spiritual surrounds us; ultimately, our bodies are controlled by the supernatural aspect of our beings -- which gives us hope of prevention or healing, no matter what kind of cancer it is.

And thus the good news: prayer can protect against malignancies. It changes the patterns of thought. It cleanses. It restores that crucial spirit-mind-body balance. It can bolster your cells (if you pray for each organ, every tissue). And it can handle cancer if it does occur (again, when such is God's Will). Dr. McAll logged cases where prayer caused many types of disease (including a cancerous tumor) to vanish by purging negative emotions. At a Christian hospital called Oasis of Hope in San Diego, they have recorded many such instances.

We have seen a case where a physician himself witnessed cancer disappearing from his spine (a "terminal" type) after praying at a Marian shrine. He documented this through x-rays. We have seen cancer that has metastasized through parts of the body vanish. And we have received reports of cures from even liver and lung malignancies, which are supposed to be fatal.

When a doctor tried to tell Padre Pio he had it, the great saint waved him away.

Prostate. Breast. Now, with cell phones, brain tumors.

There is no doubt that cancer is a very serious problem. There is also no doubt that in some cases it can not simply be brushed off. It afflicts all segments of society (again, both the good and evil). Saints have succumbed to it. And, of course, it can be caused by sheer physical factors.

But in prayer we can prevent much of it. That's the "vitamin." With prayer and fasting, we can suspend natural laws. The Blessed Mother said that. What it takes is "preventative medicine." Pray for protection of you and your family against malignancies before they strike. Anoint yourself. Inoculate your spirit. Pray to buffer each cell against the insults of modern life. Pray to have the right diet. Go through your body during the Rosary. Purge those blots through fasting (and Confession).

Accept not the evil report. You are not doomed to malignancy -- no matter what you see around you. Reach for the balance that comes with the Holy Spirit (as He instructs you on how to purge anything that may "eat away" at you, first emotionally, then spiritually, and then in the physical).

Anoint thyself!

Do it during Communion.

"Becoming a pure instrument as a channel of God's grace carries with it the gift of a new power," wrote Dr. McAll, a brilliant healer.

"We choose to switch our thoughts to become a candle of the Lord, so that our prayers may rise like incense and change situations in the troubled world around us. Fear, pain, and disease are earthly; peace, love, and joy are everlasting."

[prayers to St. Peregrine, St. Peregrine novena, praying against cancer, and charismatic deliverance prayers

As for the physical, perhaps these points, sent in a recent e-mail (which we have edited) also help (submitted solely for consideration):

1. Every person has cancer cells in the body. These cancer cells do not show up in the standard tests until they have multiplied to a few billion. When doctors tell cancer patients that there are no more cancer cells in their bodies (after treatment), it just means the tests are unable to detect the cancer cells because they have not reached the detectable size.

2. Cancer cells occur between six to more than ten times in a person's lifetime.
3. When the person's immune system is strong, the cancer cells will be destroyed and prevented from multiplying, forming tumors. Thus: pray for a strong immune system -- and eat dark green vegetables, as well as yellow ones like squash and orange ones like carrots; citrus fruit; and drink water that's is pure as you can get it.

4. Chemotherapy involves poisoning the rapidly-growing cancer cells and also destroys rapidly-growing healthy cells in the bone marrow, gastro-intestinal tract, and so forth, and can cause organ damage: like liver, kidneys, heart, and lungs. Thus, pray before making any such decision (and wait for a feeling of peace). Ask the Lord to inform your doctors and your own intuition.

5. While destroying cancer cells, radiation also burns and damages healthy cells, tissues, and organs. Pray here too -- and ask God to advise your doctor. Do heed medical advice. Initial treatment with chemotherapy and radiation will often reduce tumor size. However, prolonged use of chemotherapy and radiation do not always result in more tumor destruction. Again: pray for the right medical direction -- and bring Holy Water (as well as medals, especially those connected with St. Joseph, Blessed Andre, and Padre Pio) to the clinic.

6. When the body has too much toxic burden from chemotherapy and radiation the immune system is either compromised or destroyed, hence the person can succumb to various kinds of infections and complications. Weigh this in your decision.

8. An effective way to battle cancer is to starve the cancer cells by not feeding it with the foods it needs to multiply.

a. Sugar is a cancer-feeder. Cutting off sugar eliminates one important food supply to the cancer cells. Sugar substitutes like NutraSweet, Equal, and Spoonful are made with Aspartame, and it is harmful. A better natural substitute would be honey or molasses in modest amounts. Table salt has a chemical added to make it white in color. The better alternative is sea salt.
b. Milk causes the body to produce mucus, especially in the gastro-intestinal tract. Cancer feeds on mucus. By cutting off milk and substituting it with unsweetened soy milk, cancer cells are being starved.
c. Cancer cells thrive in an acid environment. A meat-based diet is acidic and it is best to eat fish and reasonable portions of chicken rather than too much beef or pork. Meat also contains livestock antibiotics and growth hormones, which, for some, can be less than beneficial, especially to people with cancer. Look at the local supermarket for organic products. Cancer cell walls have a tough protein covering. By refraining from or eating less meat it frees more enzymes to attack the protein walls of cancer cells and allows the body's killer cells to destroy the cancer cells. Fasting can be miraculous (spiritually and physically).
d. A diet made of 80 percent fresh vegetables and juice, whole grains, seeds, nuts and a little fruits help put the body into an alkaline environment. About twenty percent can be from cooked food, including beans. Carrot juice is very powerful. Fresh vegetable juices provide live enzymes that are easily absorbed and reach down to cellular levels within 15 minutes to nourish and enhance growth of healthy cells. If you feel you need special protection, obtain live enzymes for building healthy cells by drinking fresh vegetable juice (most vegetables including bean sprouts) and eating some raw or somewhat steamed vegetables two or three times a day. Enzymes are destroyed at temperatures of 104 degrees F (40 degrees C).
e. Avoid too much coffee, tea, and chocolate, which have high caffeine, although there may be a measure of benefit in modest amounts. Green tea is an alternative and has cancer-fighting properties, as does red wine at night. Water: best to drink it purified, or filtered, to avoid known toxins and heavy metals in tap water. Distilled water is acidic; avoid it.
9. Cancer is a disease of the mind, body, and spirit. A proactive and positive spirit will help the cancer warrior be a survivor. Anger, unforgiveness and bitterness put the body into a stressful and acidic environment. Learn to have a loving and forgiving spirit. Learn to relax and enjoy life.
10. Cancer cells cannot thrive in an oxygenated environment. Exercising daily, and deep breathing, help to get more oxygen down to the cellular level. Oxygen therapy is another means employed to destroy cancer cells.

More than anything -- in prayer -- breathe in the Holy Spirit.

[resources: Healing the Family Tree]

[archives: seeking spiritual and physical balance; see also: Sugar substitutes: dangerous? and The changing face of breast cancer]

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